Hepatitis B: mono vs. combo therapy.
In patients with hepatitis B e antigen--positive chronic hepatitis
B, sustained viral response rates after discontinuing treatment were
similar to those treated with pegylated interferon alfa-2b alone and
those who received the interferon in combination with lamivudine,
reported Harry L.A. Janssen, M.D., of Erasmus MC, Rotterdam
(Netherlands), and his colleagues.
At the end of 52 weeks of treatment, hepatitis B e antigen was
undetectable in significantly more patients in the combination therapy
group (44%, 57 of 130) than in the monotherapy group (29%, 40 of 136).
But 26 weeks after the end of treatment in the randomized, double-blind
trial, the rate of sustained virologic response was similar in the
monotherapy and combination-therapy patients (36% vs. 35%). The same
trend in outcomes occurred when the investigators assessed hepatitis B
virus DNA concentrations or alanine aminotransferase levels at the end
of treatment and after follow-up (Lancet 2005;365:123-9).